An ex-footballer with the defunct Niger Tornados football club of Niger State, Nura Mohammed, was on Wednesday [Feb. 25] paraded at the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters, Ikeja, alongside seven others for armed robbery. The other gang members were identified as Manven Bali, Chekwube Emeka, Ejike Chukwuemeka, Jacob Ali, Titus Johana and Richard Augustin.
The suspects who were paraded by the state Commissioner of Police, Kayode Aderanti, had confessed on how they carried out different armed robbery operations within the state. The receiver of the stolen vehicles, Mohammed, also confessed on how they snatched a Honda CRV Jeep, 2013 model, belonging to a Channels Television staff at gunpoint.
The ex-footballer who said his group had been in the business of snatching cars for over five years, said his role was usually to receive and dispose the stolen vehicles in Niger Republic whenever they succeed in snatching such cars from their victims. He said, “I was formerly a cow dealer in Lagos. I sell cows at Agege abattoir, but sometime in 2005, I incurred a debt of about N2.6 million. I ran away from Lagos when I could not pay up my debt and the owner of the money was breathing down on me.
“When I left Lagos, I went to Abuja, where I stayed briefly. I later left Abuja for Minna, Niger State and in 2011, I joined the defunct Niger Tornados football club. “I was signed with the sum of N150,000. Our coach then was Landa Bosu. A year later, I quit football when I sustained injury on my leg and I went back to Abuja where I started a viewing centre business. “It was a young man who sells mineral (soft drinks) by the side of my viewing centre that first introduced me into the business of receiving stolen vehicles.”
Apparently, this was not the first time he would be arrested as he was caught by the police sometime in 2012 after he bought a stolen Peugeot car from his neighbour. After his release, he continued in his life of crime especially after he was introduced to Ejike, the leader of a car snatching syndicate. He said, “I bought a total of about seven cars from Ejike. The police arrested one of my boys when he came to collect the Honda CRV car. I didn’t know that the car belonged to Channels Television.
“It was my boy that was arrested that brought the police to my place in Kano. After my arrest, I was brought to Lagos where I assisted the police to arrest other members of the gang.”
Aderanti, while addressing journalists said the other members of the gang were arrested at their hide out at Ikorodu. He said the police retrieved two locally made double barrel guns, four live cartridges, one CRV Jeep with registration No. LSD 322 CK, one Peugeot car with registration No. AU 380 KWL, one Toyota Camry with registration No. GRZ 42 AA and a Honda Accord Saloon car with registration No. KSF 95 DB.
He said the arrest of the gang was sequel to a case of conspiracy and armed robbery which was reported by a staff of Channels Television. Upon receipt of the information, the officer-in-charge of the Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), Abba Kyari, was directed to carry out an in-depth investigation into the matter.
He said, “Kyari staged a massive manhunt for the criminals. Eventually three members of the gang- Bali, Emeka and Ejike were arrested by two SARS decoy teams led by Kyari at Ojodu and Ikorodu areas of Lagos.” He said the suspects would soon be charged to court.